Autumn is near or already here.

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Coming from a tropical country, it’s a strange feeling to have different seasons other than the two; long and short rains. The new school term or semester begins in September marking the beginning of autumn or fall. Trees covered by rusty brown leaves and eventual falling of the leaves. Like the leaves, the temperature also falls, the days becomes shorter and the sky is often grey (Small chance of looking at stars). Sigh! People’s energy levels also take a dip. Here are a few tips on how to beat the autumn blues:

Do not panic… there are lights everywhere. Jyväskylä is known as the city of lights. Let me rephrase it, Finland’s own City of Light. I was surprised the first time; my flatmate took me to a running track in the forest that was lit. There are few areas in Jyväskylä that are dark (except deep in the forest). Normal activities are carried out even when the sunsets at 3 pm (that is not a typo; night comes early at this time of year).  Check out this website: http://valonkaupunki.jyvaskyla.fi/english/cityoflight

Dress like a kid… I don’t mean literally wear the same clothes but dress as warm as one. If you are not sure as to how warmly dressed you should be, observe what they (children) wear; if they are wearing gloves and jackets, do the same. The trick is layering. Wear as many layers of clothes, it keeps the warmth in and if too much, peeling off the layers will cool you off. A pipo (Finnish, for woollen hat) will be your best friend. You might also notice people sporting reflectors; it is for your safety and the safety of everyone else. If you decide to buy a bike, include in your budget a bike lamp or headlamp unless included in the price.

Add a little sun into your room… I will not go into specifics of how a full-spectrum light bulb works, all that I will say for now is that, it ‘mimics’ the sun. The general benefits are improved concentration, less eye strain, improved mood and better colour perception. But why not use a compact fluorescent light bulb? Yes, you can use them, they are generally cheaper than full-spectrum bulbs except may be the difference is in the light temperature. It is better than using incandescent yellow light bulbs, trust me I have experienced it. Early morning sunshine is a good source of vitamin D but since that will be in short supply; the next best thing is to take vitamin D supplements or foods rich in vitamin D like cheese and salmon.

By Tania Skaradek

Take a walk… Or a jog or a bike ride or join the gym. The temperatures may be low but exercise is still important during this period. Maintaining a regular routine will ensure that the body clock does not become chaotic. The university of Jyväskylä is equipped with indoor sports. (supervised and unsupervised activities). If you are not a sporty person, there are organised hobby groups and clubs in scattered all over the city. Activities ranging from board games, knitting, cooking classes, dance classes, martial arts,  DIY (Do It Yourself) groups, cultural conversation groups, singing… the list is quite large so I will save time and stop there.

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Neste rally

Its that time of year again when the cars and helicopters come to town and  Jyväskylä is a beehive of activity.  The neste oil rally which is part of the world rally championship circuit is back in town. Formerly known as the 1000 lakes rally (The reason will appear obvious if you ever look at the map of Central Finland on googlemaps.), it has gained the reputation of being the highest-speed rally on the circuit. Drivers from all over the world come to prove their skill and car manufacturers use the rally as a proving ground for their machines.

Last year’s rally was won by the current world champion, Sebastian Loeb. This event has been won on several occasions by the local drivers such as Gronhölm (7-times),  Mikkola (7-times) and Mäkinnen  (5-times)  in previous years.

Highlights from last year’s event. Please restrict your fast driving to xbox, playstation and any other game console.

Have a nice day.

UP UP and away

I know I sound like a skipping record or CD but Thesis has been behaving well. Like all great things, she is making me work for her affection. Slowly but surely, it is paying off. As a result, my grammar and spelling mistakes have decreased slightly and I write longer emails to my friends. Anyway that was an unnecessary digression.

Because, I am progressing well in my studies and my birthday passed without me realizing it, a friend of mine decided to give me a treat; to give me a whole new perspective on life so to speak.

Here it is….

Hot air balloon

Picture by JG.

The company that organises the flights have been in business since 1989 and according to them, they have 100% safety and injury free record. Not bad for a 20 something year old company. It only operates during the summer and if the weather is good, I suggest you give them a call. I will give you details at the end of the post.

So back to the perspective… I got a better look at the city and its surroundings. So I give you what I could capture during the one hour of flight.

Jyväskylä from the north

Jyväskylä from the north… I never noticed all those lakes.

Best way to beat traffic at anytime

Best way to beat traffic at anytime.

If you look closely, there is a moose in the picture.... Safari experience.

If you look closely, there is a moose in the picture…. Safari experience.

That yellow reflection in the water keeps following me...

That yellow reflection in the water keeps following me…

Even at this height, your shadow is your reliable companion.

Even at this height, your shadow is your reliable companion.

Steady and experienced hand at work. Plus he is a really nice guy.

Steady and experienced hand at work. Plus he is a really nice guy.

What I see when I look up... not much

What I see when I look up… not much.

When we landed, we had a small drink to celebrate yet another successful flight. Kippis or Cheers or Skol

When we landed, we had a small drink to celebrate yet another successful flight. Kippis or Cheers or Skol.

The company’s website is http://www.aeronaut.fi/. It is in Finnish and the other option is Russian but if you send them an email in English (email address is at the bottom of the home page) or call them, they can assist you.

Juhannus

Thesis Thesis Thesis… has been the reply to anyone who asks me what I have been up to for the past three to four months. Explains my absence and apart from that, my silence.

Since that is the  best excuse I could think of, I am happy to announce that mid-summer came and went (Still not yet done with Thesis). It is a special time in Finland where shops close, cities are deserted and  interesting traditions occur. For example: If you are a fair maiden who has been unsuccessful in find a worthy groom, go out pick some flowers, put them under your pillow and dream about that future life partner (Only works for ladies, sorry guys) and it will come true. For both ladies and gents, there is the staring into a well and the image of the betrothed will appear. I haven’t had luck that. Any other suggestions, put them in the comment section.

Normal things that happen during mid-summer or Juhannus are going to a cabin with friends and/or family, putting some sausages (makkara) on a hot fire and having a drink or two. Sauna and swimming in the nearby lake is of course part of the package. This is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and if you are as high up as Lapland, the sun does not go below the horizon. Birds go a bit crazy with no darkness, but that is another story.

To enjoy yourself, step 1. Put some sausages on the fire. If you are a vegetarian there are soya sausages. Plus grilling anything is fine.

Food

Food

Step 2… Have something warm as the evening draws near. Caffiene to keep you up the rest of the night.

Step 3: Kick back, relax, chat with friends or just dreamily look out over the water.

Step 4: There is a tradition of lighting a bonfire (Kokko) near a lake shore. Believe it or not, the fire in the picture is actually 4 metres high.  It also happens during the Easter period. This depends on which part of Finland you are in.

Step 5: Watch it burn. It was beautiful (Am not a pyromaniac).

Enjoy your summer holidays!!!

Aviation enthusiast

Happy easter or onnellistä pääsiäistä.

When I was a child, there were many things that I wanted to be when I grew up. None more so than a pilot so as to be able to take flight with the birds and travel to distant lands and see the wonders of this world. Fast-forward many years later and I didn’t become a pilot but the love for airplanes lived on.

I got a pleasant surprise last weekend when I was invited along to the Aviation museum of central Finland (Keski-Suomen ilmailumuseo). It also acts as the Finnish air force museum. It is located in Tikkakoski which is 17 km north of Jyväskylä city centre.

The museum exhibition includes some rare fighter planes such as the Brewster 239 (only one of its kind left in the world),  the Blenheim BL-200, Messerschmitt  BF 109 among other planes. Aside from the planes, the museum exhibition includes helicopters, airplane engines, radio equipment, old artillery and photographs taken by pilots and ground crews. The museum also offers a flight simulation experience at an additional cost.

Brewester 239. It crash landed in a swamp during the 2nd world war. It still bears the bullet holes where it got hit.

Brewster 239. It crash landed in a swamp during the 2nd world war and it still bears the bullet holes where it got hit. Time stood still for the plane.

Pilot reading a magazine on the wing of a Fokker D XXI.

Pilot reading a magazine on the wing of a Fokker D XXI.

At this point that I should point out that the swastika on the planes have nothing to do with nazis. Firstly, the difference in the orientation and was a good luck symbol in western Europe in the early 20th century. In addition it was a personal symbol of Swedish count Eric von Rosen who donated one of the first airplanes to Finland. The swastika symbol was abandoned after the world war due to its association with nazism.

Douglas DC3 with its imposing size.

Douglas DC3 with its imposing size.

A view from below

A view from below.

Model aircraft types flown during the war.

Model aircraft types flown during the war.

One of the first planes that Finland obtained in 1917-18 is a Brequet 14 A2

Brequet A2

Brequet 14 A2. It was used for mail delivery.

If you want more information on the museum, click on the link… http://www.airforcemuseum.fi

DSC00227

To Santa and beyond

There are a few things that go through my mind when I set foot into a bus, train, ferry or plane but none more than the song… ‘On the road again’ by Willie Nelson. This time though, it was more of a remix of ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’. I had prepared my list of demands (I sound demanding…. but I am not). Though that was not my main reason for travelling north. My main aim was to see the northern lights. In the spirit previous posts, I will give you a pictorial of my trip to the Finnish Lapland.

To see the pictures in fullscreen, just click on it and scroll left or right.

To see the pictures in fullscreen, just click on it and scroll left or right.

I would like to thank ESN JKL for organising the trip. Check them out http://www.esnjyvaskyla.com/

International dinner Spring 2013

Hallo/Hei/ Terve everyone. Its been a while since I have posted anything. All I can say is the life of a student includes a lot of studying (the primary reason for going to school in the first place 🙂 ). Other than that, I was training for the following event…

Unfortunately I got the venue wrong and ended up doing this,

Snow running

Snow running… it was good weather for a run.

But I digress…..

The international get-together and dinner took place on the 21st February at the Agora building in the university. The theme of the get-together was employment and entrepreneur opportunities in Jyväskylä and central Finland as a whole after studies. The main participants were the city of Jyväskylä, Protomo, Jykes, Jyväskylä innovation, Yritys Kehitys, JAMK (Univeristy of applied science) and University of Jyväskylä. There was also the introduction of a student driven co-operative called Fiksio. The audience was made up of students from JAMK and the University of Jyväskylä.

The evenings entertainment

Evenings entertainment was singing by a local choir.

The occasion was graced by the mayor of the city,

The mayor of Jyväskylä

The rectors from JAMK (left) and University of Jyväskylä…

The rectors giving introductory speeches.

The official introduction and presentation about the student co-operative, Fiksio was done at the event. Soon followed by some current and former students sharing with the audience their work experience in the region of central Finland…

Presentation of the student co-operative – Fiksio

From the left, The masters of ceremony, representative from JKL innovation and students talking about work life.

After the speeches and info session, there was time to exchange contacts and network over a meal…

Picture 040

As all good things come to an end, it was the hope of the organizers that the participants went away with more information with regards to job opportunities.

I almost forgot, the university is celebrating its 150 birthday this year….

Picture 004Check out blogs from fellow student ambassadors;
http://lisainjkl.wordpress.com
http://polainnzobeuh.blogspot.fi/
http://jklstudent.wordpress.com/
http://chadwedwards.wordpress.com/

Brrrrrr……. se on vähän kylmä (It is a bit cold)

For those familiar with the old coca cola advert, that is how i felt earlier this week. To bring people up to speed to what am alluding to, the advert goes a little like this;

The temperatures had dropped to about -24 degrees centigrade and there was plenty of snow. So what do you do?

a) Stay at home, wrap yourself in a blanket and hope it becomes warm again.

or

b) Go outside, take a walk, admire the snow covered surroundings, get home warm up a cup of tea or glögi (Finnish mulled wine) or go to Sauna.

Well, b) is the recommended option. Inactivity during the cold period will make one feel even colder. Plus you can get fresh air as you walk outside. Just remember to dress warmly; frozen feet and hands are not fun.

Things that can happen in Finland in the winter include:

cabin in the woods

Stay in a cabin for a weekend

Walking on tree avenue

Bridge over frozen waters

The strength and clothing for an expedition

I think it looks like a snow angel

Pausing for a moment to remember those who lost their lives in the second world war. Finnish independence day.

Pausing for a moment to remember those who lost their lives in the second world war. Finnish independence day.

Good weather for a cup of hot coffee

Good weather for a cup of hot coffee

I would like to thank Sarah F, Anna F, Karla E and Erica E for materials and added inspiration.

I will leave you with a song that i had the pleasure of seeing live: Enjoy